And There Will Always Be. A Lot.
Today, although luxury spending is back in fashion, many of those who are jobless are still not buying essentials. Thus, money remains tight for everyday needs such as food and dental care, suggesting a growing divide between the haves and have-nots. Yet there’s plenty of spending still going on — and, it seems, not just by the “haves.”
If you look through history, you’ll see a pattern: Even in times of great financial turmoil, there’s always money being spent on things that aren’t exactly necessities. Past and present observations include:
- After Hurricane Katrina, in the devastated New Orleans area (which I have seen and can attest to), season tickets to the Saints sold out — with about 60,000 fans still waiting in line.
- Phillies pennant T-shirts disappeared overnight at $150 each — even in poor areas.
- At a “luxury” hotel in Ohio, you can’t get a room unless you have a cold, wet nose and you walk on all fours. Rover’s nightly lodging fee runs a cool $100.00. For an additional $40, man’s best friend can enjoy a room with a view by the pool. Other options include a story at bedtime for Bowser (+$20) and tucking him in bed afterward with a massage (+$15). This doggie hotel is thriving — and there are others like it all over the country.
- Mr. Rich bought a $245,000 Aston Martin (my favorite sports car, by the way) but refuses to shell out $300 for much-needed tires on his Chevy Suburban.
- How about the couple who spent $2,000 on tattoos before feeding their family? They should stop complaining about the economy.
In short, people are being discretionary with their spending in these uncertain times — but it’s clear that the word “necessity” means different things to different people. Especially the young.
In short, people are being discriminatory in their spending in these uncertain times. Especially the young. How will this affect planned giving? It shows that people spend what they are emotionally passioned about. Your job is to be prepared, and to go get it.
Speaking of discretionary spending, I recently read that a toilet used by John Lennon once brought in $14,740 at an auction. Since then, I have added my own toilet to my balance sheet and provided for its assignment in my will to a shameless competitor who copies everything we do on a weekly basis and purchases our name in Google Ads.
Honestly, we’re flattered. There’s immortality in that.